As I have mentioned in previous blogs, I sometimes listen to paranormal podcasts when I am doing mindless data entry functions at work. I happened to catch an interview with Andrea Perron, the oldest (I believe) of five daughters of Roger and Carolyn Perron, and experiencer of the so-called Harrisville, RI, haunting. This haunting is now quite famous since it was the foundation for the recent hit movie “The Conjuring”.
Ms. Perron is obviously on the circuit trying to drum up readers for a series of books that she is writing about her family’s experience. She comes across as very smooth, polished and scripted but, when your family’s story has been the basis of a 100+ million dollar movie, I imagine that you learn PR very quickly. I say this not to diminish Ms. Perron’s experiences – obviously some of them were quite frightening – but so that readers who happen across one of these interviews will be forewarned. I had to get past my prejudice against obviously scripted testimony before I could really listen to the interview.
I can not know what really went on in the Harrisville home of the Perron’s thirty years ago but what really caught my attention in this story was Ms. Perron’s dramatic account of a “seance gone bad”. According to this witness, when Ed and Lorraine Warren became involved in this case, one of the first things that they did was try to contact the spirits through a good old fashioned seance.
Now, I have noted that I have some issues with the Warrens. While Ed Warren died in 2006, Lorraine Warren is, to my knowledge, still active in the paranormal field. In their heyday, the Warrens styled themselves demonologists and Ms. Warren is still called into situations in which there is the possibility of hostile entities or demonic influence. For the sake of fairness, I have to note too that this case occurred early in their careers.
According to Ms. Perron, the Warrens brought a psychic medium into the Harrisville home and attempted contact with the spirits in the house. The end result was that Carolyn Perron, Andrea’s mother, appeared to be possessed or at least strongly influenced by a disharmonic entity which proceeded to fling her across the room. Andrea Perron states that she was positive that she had seen her mother die that night but, fortunately, Mrs. Perron seems to have sustained no permanent damage.
If you are wondering why I am strongly against aggressive tactics in hauntings, here is a good example of what might happen. Not all spirits are namby pamby ghosts, folks, some of them, no matter what you want to call them, can and do effect the physical plane and they can hurt you. If this story is even partially true, I am amazed that anyone who bills themselves as a demonologist could possibly be so irresponsible.
A little back story. Before the Warrens became involved in this case, another paranormal group had already been on scene and had determined that there were hostile elements to the haunting. Carl Johnson, a member of the first paranormal group, PIRO, had gotten a strong set of physical phenomenon in the upstairs part of the house when he invoked the name of Jesus and stories told by the family as well as the experiences of the investigators led them to believe that the house was not only haunted but that there were negative entities present.
So, the “demonologists” come in and promptly throw the equivalent of a paranormal party and invite everyone in? I am a big fan of neither Ouija boards or seances for precisely this reason. Both techniques are the astral equivalent of firing a signal flare in the Otherworld and seeing who will show up. It is bad enough to do this sort of thing in a non-haunted space but doing it in an area where you know there are entities hostile to humans is downright foolish. I would think that anyone who knew anything about demonic/spirit oppression or possession would know that.
People involved in the magical arts understand that spirit communication and work is something that has to be carefully targeted. If a mage is seeking the advice or services of a specific spirit then he or she learns all that can be learned about that spirit and invokes or evokes that specific being taking great care to clear the area and then to test the spirit to make certain it is the correct one.
Even in religious practices that utilize spirit possession, such as Voudou and the other ACR’s, great care is taken to follow the order of the service so that the Ways are opened properly and that guardian spirits are present to keep out the riff raff, so to speak. Of course, if the fete is for the dead then things can get pretty rowdy but no entity truly hostile to the people at the feast would get past the spirits and lwa who protect such a site.
My word to paranormal investigators out there is simple. Treat a haunting as you would treat walking through a neighborhood. Some neighborhoods are nicer than others. In some neighborhoods, you might be safe wearing your Rolex and in others you might want to drop it in your pocket, out of sight. Never assume that you are in a nice neighborhood, spiritually, until you have had a chance to spend some time on site and get an intuitive feel for the place, heard the witnesses’ stories, worked with the tech to see what sorts of EVP’s, pictures and other evidence come up and researched the history of the place. As the sergeant on Hill Street Blues used to tell his officers before every shift: be careful out there.